By Staff Sgt. Kathleen V. PolancoMarch 1, 2017
Grafenwoehr, Germany (Feb. 28, 2017) - The 7th Army Training Command is hosting the exercise Dynamic Front II (DF II) at the Grafenwoehr Training Area from Feb. 26 to March 10.
DF II is a multi-national exercises that focuses on identifying capabilities and limitations within the theater-level fires system by testing and syncing multi-echelon fires.
The nine NATO nations participating in this year's exercise are: the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
"We want to make sure we understand in Europe how to shoot from the Corps level down to the actual cannon or rocket launcher itself," said Bill Campsey, the DFII scenario manager.
The goal of DF II is to get the artillery systems from different friendly nations talking to each other to deliver fires.
The purpose of linking firing systems is to provide commanders an opportunity to be a multi-force multiplier by having more power and more digital data from coalition systems, said Dana Hatcher, the DF II Artillery Systems Cooperation Activities (ASCA) subject matter expert.
In order to get all the fires systems on the same page, the participants would need to learn how to use the implemented software.
"ASCA is an embedded message format in the fire control systems in each of the nations," said Hatcher.
It is a software that is implemented on each ASCA member's firing systems. It allows different units from different nations to operate on one common operating picture.
"It makes us interoperable," said Col. Joe Hilbert, the 82nd ABN DIVARTY commander. one of the units providing command and control during the exercise. "When we look across our allied partners, we realize that not only do we have different mission command systems but we also have different artillery mission command systems. For us, ASCA is a critical capability."
The digital interface allows all ASCA members to deliver fires more efficiently by mitigating language barriers and streamlining the fires process.
DF II provides an opportunity for the participating NATO nations who aren't ASCA members, to learn and understand more about the product.
"It's a good way for them to find out what the capabilities are and this is a good way to showcase digital information that they can pass on in a seamless matter for the operator," said Hatcher.
Not only does this exercise focus on getting multi-national artillery systems on the same network, but it also provides an opportunity for the artillery community to get familiar with each other and learn each other's protocols.
"The 82nd ABN DIVARTY gets an opportunity to work in theater to work alongside our NATO allies to understand how they're going to fight and how we're going to fight in cooperation with them," said Hilbert.